New York will again be the focal point of the boxing world for another title fight Saturday night at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for a 12 round WBA Welterweight clash.
According to oddsmakers, who sent the betting line out listing the challenger Adrien Broner (26-0, 22 KO’s) as a -1250 favorite, and title holder Paulie Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KO’s) as a +850 underdog, the outcome is all but a formality.
Since then, the betting market has forced bookmakers to raise the price even more, currently offering up Broner as high as -1500, more or less assuring fans and bettors alike that it’s now just a matter of time before both hear the words, “And New WBA Welterweight Champion Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner.”
Before you race down to your local sports book to get down on the so called next “Money Mayweather” in an attempt to lock in some “free money” I urge caution due to so many unknowns.
Granted it’s well established that Broner has been successfully marketed by his promoters at Golden Boy as the future of boxing. Over the years they’ve done a masterful job of identifying talent. Broner undoubtedly fits that same mold.
To date, though, he has yet to truly accomplish inside the ring all that is being talked about outside. I’m not taking anything away from the fact he’s a two time strap holder at super featherweight and lightweight, but the opposition faced to capture and then retain those titles aren’t enough to justify his current No. 6 ranking on The Ring Magazine Top Pound for Pound list.
Instead, I believe that ranking is based more on the potential and hype than anything else. Even Compubox has been unable to rank him in their plus/minus ratings because of the names behind his “W’s.”
Now I’m a firm believer that one can only fight or play who is put in front of them. That said, he is currently bypassing two weight divisions to challenge for a piece of welterweight gold, when it’s well documented that some of the sport’s most talented fighters are right there at 140 lbs. just waiting for him.
So my question is whether or not this was by design, or if his ego is so great that he’s convinced his handlers he’s ready for the best at 147 lbs.
Some may argue that Malignaggi is not the best at welterweight, and I won’t counter that stance except to state that Paulie has stepped in against some of the most elite boxers available – Amir Khan, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto to list a few. Though he came up short it provided him with the type of experience Broner doesn’t possess.
Rest assured, knowing Malignaggi is the owner of only 7 KO/TKO victories makes it more justifiable for the challenger to jump up two weight classes as opposed to getting in against a puncher. But still, he may find himself surprised to find the champion does have some pop, at least enough to go 12 rounds with a heavy fisted fighter like Cotto.
Stylistically, Broner is an amazing talent and treat to watch even for boxing purists. His movement looks almost effortless and he can throw every punch in the book with efficiency and force. He has the footwork necessary to dictate where the fight takes place thus far in his career.
The combination of power and speed, when coupled with what appears to be a durable chin, makes him a nightmare for anyone at lightweight. This is why Broner is currently listed as the No. 1 lightweight in the world.
For Malignaggi, he’ll need to at least get Broner’s respect since he’s not known to pack much power and has gotten his 25 of his 32 wins by out-classing his opponents with top level boxing skills. He’s what we like to refer to as a “slick” boxer who as Lennox Lewis was once quoted as saying during a telecast, the champion had put on a boxing clinic.
Malignaggi is also a fighter with a lot of heart and attitude, which is needed when you don’t have that one-punch knockout power, and it’s helped make him a boxer who fans still appreciate to see fight.
At 32, the question is whether Malignaggi still has a few big fights left in him, since only a very select group has shown to have more than a handful in a career and those men almost always go down as “legends” of the sport.
Personally, I can’t put the title holder in that category based on his career to date, but I also won’t go as far as placing the challenger anywhere near it either.
This is an easy bet to make. I will look at OVER. Even if Broner gets the victory, Malignaggi is fighting in front of his home town crowd and we’ve seen countless examples of how that tends to will a boxer to fight through adversity.
If Paulie successfully defends his strap, it will most likely be the result of him using his boxing IQ and skills to secure a decision. Either way, this outcome of this bout should be in the hands of the judges when the final bell rings.
With that OVER bet, I will go ahead and look to catch lightning with a wager on the champion at some very generous odds.
Bonus Bet: Malignaggi +1000
Vegas-Runner, a pro sports bettor in Las Vegas, has been featured on CNBC/ESPN. Follow him on Twitter @vegasrunner, at Pregame.com and on AM 1100 ESPN (also FM 98.9) on Fridays and Sundays from 11 pm to midnight when he co-hosts First Preview. Contact Vegas Runner at [email protected].